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Pollination and Floral Ecology$
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Pat Willmer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128610

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128610.001.0001

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Flower Visitors as Cheats and the Plants’ Responses

Flower Visitors as Cheats and the Plants’ Responses

(p.542) Chapter 24 Flower Visitors as Cheats and the Plants’ Responses
Pollination and Floral Ecology

Pat Willmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes some of the kinds of cheating committed by flower visitors and what plants can do to avoid the costs of being cheated. While both plants and visitors have many ways of cheating, the diversity and deviousness of cheating by the plants seem to be substantially greater than the surreptitious stealing and ambushing that goes on in the animals. This is not surprising when considered in terms of the so-called life-dinner principle, and what each participant has at stake. The chapter begins with a discussion of how animals cheat by means of floral theft and thus get rewards without effecting pollination, including nectar theft, pollen theft, and florivory. It then examines three main options for defending plants against theft: physical barriers, chemical deterrents, and bribes. It also explains the overall effects of theft on flowers and concludes with an analysis of floral exploitation by hitchhikers and ambush predators.

Keywords:   cheating, flower visitor, plant, floral theft, pollination, florivory, bribe, flower, hitchhiker, ambush predator

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